TLDR Daily Update 2018-12-12

Tesla sues whistleblower, Huawei CFO released, bumblebee backpacks...

Big Tech & Startups

Stories about tech giants, startups, and venture capital
Tesla is seeking $167 million in damages from the former employee Elon Musk accused of sabotage (2 minute read)
Tesla is suing former employee Martin Tripp for $167 million, saying that he had illegally exported data and made false claims to reporters, materially impacting their stock price. Tripp did a bunch of interviews earlier this year saying that Tesla engaged in poor manufacturing practices, and that it may have used damaged battery modules in Model 3s. In July, he filed a complaint with the SEC alleging that Tesla made "material omissions and misstatements" to investors about its manufacturing practices. Elon Musk called him a "saboteur" in a company wide email earlier this year.
Huawei CFO facing extradition to US granted bail (2 minutes)
Huawei's CFO, who has been in Canadian custody for the past week facing extradition to the US, has been released on a $10 million bail. She is to remain under house arrest with an ankle tracker and 24/7 security in one of her Vancouver homes. She is accused of helping Huawei dodge US sanctions on Iran. When asked if he would intervene in the case, President Trump said "If I think it's good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made, which is a very important thing, what's good for national security, I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary."

Science & Cutting Edge Technology

Stories about scientific breakthroughs and futuristic technologies like AI, blockchain, and space travel
Researchers create first sensor package that can ride aboard bees (3 minute read)
Farmers use drones to fly over huge fields and monitor things like temperature, humidity, and crop health. However, drones need a lot of power and can't get far without needing to charge. Now, engineers at the University of Washington have created a sensor system small enough to attach to a bumblebee. Bees can go about their day of foraging, and when they return to the hive, their backpack of sensors can upload all the data that has been collected (right now it can only store 30 kilobytes). The team would eventually like to develop backpacks with cameras that can livestream information about plant health back to farmers.
The record for high-temperature superconductivity has been smashed again (3 minute read)
Superconductivity is a strange phenomenon where a material has zero electrical resistance when cooled below a critical temperature. Usually this temperature is really low, the best superconductor, hydrogen sulfide, has a cutoff around -80 degrees Celsius. If we had superconductors at room temperature, it would have a huge range of applications like super-fast computers, efficient electric grids, powerful magnets, particle accelarators and more. German scientists have crushed the superconductivity record, observing lanthanum hydride superconducting at -23 degrees Celsius, warmer than the North Pole. Better yet, they used theoretical methods to predict this result, so future theoretical advances could yield further improvements. The team says "Our study makes a leap forward on the road to the room-temperature superconductivity."

Programming, Design & Data Science

Tools, open source libraries, and other resources for programmers, designers, and data scientsts
DigitalOcean Kubernetes (Product)
DigitalOcean Kubernetes is now generally available! Basically it's a managed Kubernetes cluster that is easy to set up. It's already integrated with their load balancers and block storage, the pricing is the same as their current Droplets, and manager nodes are free!
Quicklink (Github Repo)
This is an open source project by the Google Chrome team that prefetches pages as soon as a link enters the viewport. Basically this means that instead of loading data when a user clicks a link, the browser will load the data when the link enters the user's view, so if the user clicks on the link it will load instantly because the data has already been loaded. I'm a big fan of this idea, and it looks like they've handled a lot of the details well (it doesn't prefetch if the internet connection is slow, it doesn't prefetch if the page is still loading, it automatically detects when links are in view, etc.).


Random stuff techies might be interested in
Marriott Data Breach Is Traced to Chinese Hackers as U.S. Readies Crackdown on Beijing (5 minute read)
The cyberattack on Marriott hotels that leaked the information of 500 million guests was done by Chinese hackers, who also hacked health insurers, other hotels, and the security clearance files of millions more Americans. They are suspected to be working for the Chinese Ministry of State Security. US officials believe that the hacks were intended to gather intelligence to root out spies, and the Marriott data would give the hackers access to an important element: travel habits. China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs denies involvement, saying "China firmly opposes all forms of cyberattack and cracks down on it in accordance with the law."
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